District nine congressional candidates weigh in on controversial proposals to bring back jobs

Congressional candidates in Virginia’s Ninth District are weighing in on some recent proposals to bring jobs back to the region that not all voters support. 

This U.S. House race is the second time incumbent Republican Rep. Morgan Griffith and Democrat Anthony Flaccavento are facing off. Flaccavento ran against Griffith in 2012 and lost. 

Both candidates agreed in interviews Monday that the economy is a top issue for their constituents. 

But a proposal to turn the abandoned Bristol Mall into a casino has many community members on edge, despite promises by developers to bring thousands of middle class jobs back to town. 

"I'm a little more leery of what a casino might do or bring, the kinds of jobs, the overall impact.
I'm not closed to it but I'm not thrilled about it,” Flaccavento said.

Rep. Griffith refused to give his opinion, pointing out that the Virginia General Assembly, not the federal government, will control the fate of the casino project that requires a change in state law to move forward. 

The winner of the November 6th election will have a hand in the fate of the CBD oil industry, though.  

Federal decisions on how the drug is classified could affect its expansion locally. 

There are currently several CBD oil producers looking to set up shop in Virginia, including Dharma Pharmaceuticals, which was recently granted conditional approval from the Virginia Board of Pharmacy to open a location in the Bristol Mall. 

Flaccavento was enthusiastic about this idea that he said could bring jobs to the area. "The cannabis extraction processing is a great idea. I'd love to see it in the Bristol Mall because that's a lot of unused space."

"It has some real benefits based on some of the things that we've seen. Congress needs to
insist that we do more research so that we can get real clear data on what it does good,” Rep. Griffith said. 

Both candidates believe an expansion of CBD oil production has potential to help curb the opioid epidemic ravaging their district. 

“"I think it will create alternatives to opioids that are nowhere near so addictive and probably not
addictive at all,” Flaccavento said. 

"Marijuana has some downsides but not nearly as bad as some other things that we use,” Rep. Griffith echoed. 

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